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Toddlers Being Toddlers at River Farm

2012 September 18
by Becky

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Last week we explored a magical little place.

A place where it’s fun to meet up with friends on a beautiful fall-ish day to let your toddlers run wild. Climbing, jumping, crawling, digging, and getting dirty. All the things they love to do.

I mean, look at Ethan’s butt. This was about ten minutes after we arrived.

As a clean-freak, it’s really hard for me to just sit back and watch the dirt cover The Peanut from head to toe, getting crammed under each and every fingernail. From a very young age, I was the kid that NEVER wanted to get dirty. It didn’t keep me from having fun or working hard, I just liked to do things neatly. If my friends and I were given popsicles, I would be the only one not covered in sugary mess. I was never a fan of Playdough or silly putty…too messy. My mom rarely had to tell me to clean my room. And when cleaning out the horse stalls (on the farmI donned gloves and coveralls.

But, as Stu always says (usually as I’m pulling out my family-pack of wipes and bottle of hand sanitizer), “He’s a boy. Let him get dirty.” So I do my best.

It’s hard for me.

River Farm, just a couple miles south of us on George Washington Parkway (between Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon) is the PERFECT place for kids to get dirty. In fact, their Children’s Garden is made for just this purpose.

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Why else would there be miniature shovels and a big area designated for digging? Ethan attacked that shovel as if it was his job. If we ever have a real yard again, this will come in very handy.

And what children’s garden would be complete without a boat resting randomly in the middle of some tall grasses, just begging little muddy feet to trample its white surfaces? Scrambling on board, Ethan kicked back like he was spending a day on the water…all he needed was a can of root beer in a koozie. I imagine Quinn (red hat) saying “Where are the water skis, dude?”

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river farm, American Horticultural Society, northern virginia, children's garden, kid friendly DC, kid activities in DC Metro, kid activities in virginia, kid activities in alexandria, toddler activities in DC metro, toddler activities in virginia, toddler activities in alexandria, river farm children's garden

They fearlessly dove under bridges…never mind the darkness of the tunnels. Muddy puddles and bugs galore are too good to pass up. After looking away for a few seconds to talk to my friend, I turned back and panicked for a second, looking everywhere for Ethan only to see his head pop out of a tunnel opening, a big smile on his face. “Hi Mama!” Stinker. I kind of love it when he ventures off on his own (in a safe area, of course), because he so rarely leaves my side. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have him next to me all the time, but gaining some independence can’t be bad, right?

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I can’t imagine a better way to spend a morning, watching my Little Man running confidently from one fun thing to another, exploring with his buddies in a mini-sized world. And hey, getting to chat with my friends is a nice bonus too! Any mom knows this doesn’t mean in-depth conversations…that is unless you are able to have an in-depth convo while being interrupted every 3-6 minutes. But conversations all the same. I so enjoy talking to all the smart and interesting women I’ve met here in NOVA.

Sitting out in the sunny, cool weather made me even more excited for the fall. The days when we will take our picnic blanket with us everywhere, wear jeans, maybe even a sweater, and switch from iced lattes to hot ones…with a little pumpkin spice?

Did I forget to mention rocks, butterflies, bubbles, and flowers? They all made appearances at River Farm too. Ethan can’t ever get enough of this stuff. That is, until he nearly breaks down from pure exhaustion and needs to be wheeled back to the car, forced into his car seat, handed my iPhone playing Elmo videos to keep him awake for the ten minute drive, and peeled out of his filthy dirty clothes, and placed in his crib immediately upon our arrival home.

When he woke a solid three hours later, cleaning under his fingernails was my top priority.

(Want to visit River Farm? It’s FREE, has ample FREE parking, clean bathrooms, and plenty of picnic space. See their website for more details.)

One Response leave one →
  1. Sandy Schon permalink
    September 19, 2012

    I want to go there!!!

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